Football Australia celebrates Central Coast Mariners’ historic AFC Cup victory

Football Australia extends its warmest congratulations to the Central Coast Mariners for their momentous and historic victory in the AFC Cup 2023-24 Final, held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Oman earlier today.

The Mariners clinched the title with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Lebanon’s Al Ahed, thanks to a crucial goal by substitute Alou Kuol in the 84th minute.

This victory not only brings glory to the Central Coast Mariners as AFC Cup 2024 Champions, but also marks a historic milestone for Australian football. Australia is now the first and only AFC Member Association to have won all four major AFC competitions: the AFC Cup (Central Coast Mariners 2024), the AFC Champions League (Western Sydney Wanderers 2014), the AFC Asian Cup (Socceroos 2015), and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup (Matildas 2010).

Central Coast Mariners travelled over 100,000km in 13 games as part of their journey in the AFC Cup, culminating in tonight’s victorious AFC Cup Final, the first Australian club to win this competition.

Adding to their remarkable season in the Isuzu A-League Men, the Central Coast Mariners also secured the Isuzu A-League Premiership last week and are set to continue their quest for the Championship in the Isuzu A-League Finals series. They will face Sydney FC this Friday night at Allianz Stadium in the first leg of two semi-finals for a place in a consecutive Grand Final.

Chairman Anter Isaac expressed his pride in the Mariners’ achievement, stating, “This victory is a testament to the relentless spirit and dedication of our players, coaches, and support staff. The Central Coast Mariners have not only lifted a trophy today but have also lifted the spirits of the entire football community in Australia. Special recognition goes to Chairman Richard Peil, Coach Mark Jackson, and the entire team and club for achieving this exceptional milestone, benefiting not only their club and community, but also for the entire Australian football family.”

CEO James Johnson remarked on the broader impact of this win, “The Central Coast Mariners’ triumph in the AFC Cup underscores the strength and depth of Australian club football and marks an important milestone our long-term vision for Australian football, as we see an Australian club rise to the summit of club football in Asia once again. This victory elevates Australia’s stature on the global football stage and inspires future generations of footballers across the nation.”

The AFC Cup awards ceremony brought further honours to the Central Coast Mariners, as they were recognised with the prestigious Fair Play Award, demonstrating their commitment to sportsmanship and integrity throughout the tournament.

Marco Tulio was crowned the Golden Boot winner, a testament to his exceptional performance during the Group Stage where he netted eight goals. This remarkable achievement highlights his pivotal role in the Mariners’ attacking line-up.

Mikael Doka was honoured as the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player following an outstanding campaign. Doka led the knockout stages in goals scored and added two assists, showcasing his crucial contributions to the team’s success at critical moments.

Football Australia proudly extends its congratulations to both Tulio and Doka for their exemplary achievements and significant contributions to the Mariners’ historic success in the AFC Cup.

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